Chicago Hosts World Music Festival


(c) 2011

From September 15 to 22, the city of Chicago will transform into a global center for the best of today’s international music when the 13th annual World Music Festival: Chicago 2011 returns.

Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC), the city-wide, multi-venue, eight-day festival features acclaimed musicians from more than 40 countries.

Featuring traditional and contemporary music from diverse cultures, the performances and events include a combination of free and low-cost ticketed concerts, many of which are family friendly.

The festival kicks-off in Grant Park’s Spirit of Music Garden as part of Chicago SummerDance, followed by seven jam-packed days of performances and events in Chicago’s neighborhood parks, clubs, cultural centers and downtown venues, culminating with the “One World Under One Roof” finale featuring multiple concerts held throughout the Chicago Cultural Center from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Highlights include the Chicago debut of Staff Benda Bilili, an extraordinary group of paraplegic street musicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo who perform on homemade instruments; The Creole Choir of Cuba (Caribbean); Boubacar Traore Trio (Mali); Sounds & Rhythms of Afghanistan; Esma Redžepova (Macedonia); Movits! (Sweden); and Mad Professor (UK).

New this Year

•The first-ever World Music Festival: Chicago Android App will be unveiled Tuesday, Sept. 6. The App offers an easily accessible schedule of performances, bios, pictures, music clips and insider information.
•World Music Festival: Chicago expands to all corners of the city with more than 20 venues this year. New venues include Margate Park, Lincoln Hall, The Dock at Montrose Beach and Hostelling International, in addition to downtown venues such as Daley Plaza and Millennium Park.
•A new partnership with the Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements Festival presents Sidi Toure (Mali), Bomba Estereo (Colombia) in Eckhart Park, Sept. 16-18.
•Last weekend of Chicago SummerDance kick-starts the festival, featuring World Music Festival musicians throughout the weekend, including Sergent Garcia (France), Joaquin Diaz (Dominican Republic) and Bulgarika (Bulgaria) in Grant Park’s Spirit of Music Garden.
•A free screening of the award-winning Staff Benda Bilili documentary, “Benda Bilili,” takes place, Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The full schedule can be viewed beginning in September. Information can also be found on Facebook at and on Twitter @WMFChicago.

Since its inception, World Music Festival: Chicago has attracted more than a half million concertgoers and has presented more than 500 artists and ensembles from over 75 countries, making it the largest international music festival in the United States.

World Music Festival: Chicago 2011 is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, and is made possible with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and United Airlines, the Official Airline of the World Music Festival.